Chapter

Killing and Letting Die: Arguments for Inequivalence and the Problem of Contextual Interaction

F. M. Kamm

in Morality, Mortality Volume II: Rights, Duties, and Status

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780195144024
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870998 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195144023.003.0003

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

 Killing and Letting Die: Arguments for Inequivalence and the Problem of Contextual Interaction

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Considers a new use for non‐standardly equalized cases of killing and letting die, comparing cross‐definitionally equalized killing and non‐cross‐definitionally equalized killing cases to collect evidence for the truth or falsity of Thesis E (Thesis of the Moral Equivalence of Killing and Letting Die). In addition, a comparison is made of cross‐definitionally equalized killing and letting‐die cases to test for the moral significance of what is called here ‘non‐exportable’ definitional properties of killing or letting die. With this as a foundation, two arguments are presented against Thesis E: one argument focuses on the significance of certain definitional properties of killing and letting die, and one on the transitivity argument. The first argument may tell us why killing and letting die differ morally per se, not only that they do. Two methodological issues in making these arguments are also addressed: the Principle of Contextual Interaction, and the possible failure of transitivity.

Keywords: case equalization; Contextual Interaction; equalizing cases cross‐definitionally; equalizing cases non‐cross‐definitionally; equalizing cases non‐standardly; kill and let‐die cases; killing and letting die; Moral Equivalence; moral inequivalence; non‐exportable definitional properties of killing or letting die; Principle of Contextual Interaction; Thesis E; transitivity

Chapter.  11438 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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